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Posts Tagged ‘energy efficiency’

Which States Rank Highest on Energy Efficiency Efforts? Latest Results May Surprise

The latest ranking of states’ energy efficiency policies and programs is out, and many of the results are what you’d expect. (Hint: the Red Sox aren’t the only winners in this neck of the woods.) But there are some surprising results worth checking out—including shout-outs for Mississippi, Illinois, and others. Read More

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Fact Checking ALEC’s Attacks on Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards

Members of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee heard testimony this week on two bills that would roll back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Backed by fossil-fuel funded special interest groups and their political allies, these proposals would undermine Ohio’s emerging clean energy industries and make the state even more dependent on coal and natural gas. Read More

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Renewable Energy Contracts and Energy Efficiency Progress: New England is Sprinting

For fans of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, life in New England right now is awfully good. The Sox hold a commanding lead in the race to the post-season, and the Patriots are 3-0.*

Life in New England is also good for fans of clean energy and a stronger, cleaner energy future, which should include just about anyone with lungs or a wallet. Just-announced plans for more local renewable energy, and a new report on best cities for energy efficiency, show the important progress New England is making in some key areas for our economy and our environment. Read More

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Gas Ceiling: Assessing the Climate Risks of an Overreliance on Natural Gas for Electricity

The President’s Climate Plan announced in June touts natural gas as an important climate solution, as I discussed in a recent blog. This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the first step in implementing one of the key components of his plan by re-issuing carbon standards for new power plants. The next and more important step in this process is for the EPA to issue draft carbon standards for existing power plants by June 2014. (For more details, see this blog by my colleague Rachel Cleetus).

While standards for existing plants will help reduce power sector carbon emissions, they could lead to an overreliance on natural gas if they are not designed in the right way. In addition, the U.S. will need to make much deeper cuts in emissions to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change, as I discussed in my blog in July. A new UCS report released today shows that a transition from a coal- to a natural gas-dominated electricity system would not be sufficient to meet U.S. climate goals. Instead, a diversified electricity system—with amplified roles for renewable energy and energy efficiency and a modest role for natural gas—would both limit the threat of climate change and mitigate the risks of an overdependence on natural gas. Read More

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Managing Risk in Ohio: Clean Energy’s Role in a Reliable, Diverse Power Supply

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a mantra often used by investors who diversify their portfolios to protect against volatility in financial markets. It’s also appropriate for the electricity sector in Ohio, a state that has historically been overdependent on coal and is fast becoming over reliant on both coal and natural gas, leaving consumers vulnerable to volatility in energy markets and many other risks. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can help diversify Ohio’s power mix, and bring safe, clean, reliable, and affordable power to consumers, according to a new UCS report. Why then is the central policy that is successfully supporting these clean energy industries in Ohio under attack? Read More

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“Not A Good Day in the Neighborhood” — Electricity Grid Progress since the August 2003 Blackout

Electricity grid operators knew hours before the 4 p.m., August 14, 2003 Northeast power failure that things were going badly. One called his wife, predicting accurately that he would have to work late, and another complained it was “not a good day in the neighborhood.”

The largest blackout in North America left 50 million people without power and largely without communications, but some engineers knew that the blackout could have been prevented. Part two of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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The Alabama I Used to Know: Is the Southeast Getting Climate- and Water-Smarter?

A trip I just made to the Southeast included my first visit to Birmingham in decades, and glimpses of changes the intervening years had brought. New houses in my grandmother’s old neighborhood. Food that’s just as tasty as it used to be, but a whole lot more varied. And an energy scene that is changing, but not nearly as much as it should.

Our tour through Georgia and Alabama was aimed at talking with a range of audiences and experts about our new Water-Smart Power report. And when it comes to water-smart, there are plenty of reasons for the region to get on a different path, and lots of other reasons to celebrate where they’re headed. Read More

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13 of the Largest Power Outages in History — and What They Tell Us About the 2003 Northeast Blackout

What gets the most attention is not what causes blackouts in North America and Europe. It’s the system, not a shortage of power plants that is the problem. Take a look at the 13 major power outages over many years, and see that the problems we face are not because we aren’t building enough power plants. Part one of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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Energy-Water Collisions: A Shared Concern for State Utility Regulators

Last week, I presented the key findings from our new report Water-Smart Power: Strengthening the U.S. Electricity System in a Warming World to state utility regulators and their staff at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Summer Meetings in Denver. Read More

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The President Touts Natural Gas as an Important Climate Solution: How Far Can it Take Us?

The President’s climate plan is an important start for reducing carbon and other heat-trapping emissions from human activities that are driving climate change. One of the key components of his plan is directing the EPA to complete carbon standards for new and existing power plants, which could help transition the power sector away from coal to natural gas and other cleaner sources like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More

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